Copyright Is Not A Welfare System For Musicians

from the please-explain dept

As the battle over copyright term extension is still going on in the UK, the Register has an interview with a former general manager of Motown, talking about how those in favor of extending the length of performance rights screwed up because they had successful musicians like Cliff Richard as the figurehead for the movement, leading people to question why a successful musician needs any more money. Instead, he points out that they should have focused on the studio musicians or less well known players where "500 quid a year to them that's a significant amount of money." Of course, that bases the entire argument on the idea that copyright is some sort of welfare program for content creators. It's not. It's very clearly laid out purpose is simply to put in place the incentives for creation of new content. The content that was created 50 years ago does not need any more incentive to be created. Yes, additional money to these musicians probably would be nice for them, but copyright isn't designed as a system to support musicians. They did this work 50 years ago. They got paid then, and they've been paid for it for 50 years, as the law stated. It was enough incentive for them back then -- and it's one of the few jobs in the world where you get paid for work you did 50 years ago. If we want to create a welfare system for musicians, that's a different discussion -- but don't try to hide a welfare system in copyright.

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  1. identicon
    Enrico Suarve, 26 Jan 2007 @ 7:25am

    Re: Rob is right, Mike is wrong

    It boils down to this: ANY product (music, software, apples, shoes, ceiling fans, etc) has a value to some people. If they wish to exchange something of value with the owner of that product, no matter what year it is, or when that product was created, then so be it. If they wish to use something for free simply because X number of years have passed...then too bad! You dont have the right to have something for free just because time has passed.

    I assume from this you mean in whole and in part?

    i.e. that 50 years from now I can't take part of your work and reuse it in another manner without paying you

    sounds fair

    I'm typing this on a keyboard that I bought from Logitech, it uses infrared technology, neither of which are new ideas, it also utilises PCBs etc

    So by your logic to buy a simple keyboard the company who sell it should be remunerating everyone back to the days of Ben Franklin and co (it does after all use that electrickery stuff). If I can find a descendant of the Arab who came up with the alphabet we use I guess I should probably remunerate him too

    Sheeeet that's gonna be expensive pa

    Get over yourself

    I've got plenty of mates who are musicians and yeah if someone said they could still be earning off a tune in retirement that they wrote when they were kids, they'd probably say yes (you'd have to be pretty stupid to turn down free money) but I don't think even they could justify earning forever (even the ones with egos bigger than my house)

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